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James McMurtry

In Crazy Heart, Jeff Bridges plays a past-his-prime country singer named Bad Blake, who ekes out a living by playing bowling alleys and saloons throughout the American Southwest. So notorious a lush is Blake that the venues he plays typically refuse to comp him drinks, for fear that he'll more than double his fee in spirits. This does nothing to deter Blake; in an early scene, he's gifted a fifth of whiskey by a local liquor-store owner who recognizes him, and proceeds to get so drunk during his set that he must leave the stage to vo-mit out the back door amid one of his signature tunes. Blake made enough of a name for himself at the peak of his career to still attract a handful of loyal fans to each gig, and keeps his bar tab back home in Houston paid by playing regularly at a buddy's bar. A brilliant lyricist, what songs of Blake's became famous were made so by a younger, slicker, more Nashvillian protégé named Tommy Sweet, who used to play in Blake's band, dubbed Bad's Boys. Blake has more ex-wives than he can count, and his lone son has no interest in reconnecting with him after decades of absenteeism.
Sun., Sept. 11, 7 p.m., 2011


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